May 12, 2001
Court orders divorce upgrade
Landmark rulingBy SAM PAZZANO -- Courts Bureau
Jennifer Elaine Marinangeli is sharing the fruits of her husband's good fortunes -- four years after their divorce -- following a landmark court decision.
Jennifer and her banker-husband Daniel Anthony shared all the trappings of an upper middle-class lifestyle.
While her ex-husband's fortunes and his career at the Toronto Dominion Bank soared, Jennifer's financial health collapsed in 1992, leaving her unable to pay income and property taxes.
Her ex-husband's income skyrocketed from $170,000 as a TD Bank vice-president in 1992 to $850,000 last year as the bank's chief financial officer, while Jennifer couldn't pay her dental bills, her home was in need of renovations and she had to borrow money from her mother.
She hadn't worked since 1983 after she and her husband agreed that she'd stay home and raise their daughter Rachel. With only a Grade 12 education, Jennifer could never keep up this lifestyle -- if she could land a job.
They agreed on child support of $2,000 a month and spousal support of $6,000 when they ended four years of legal battles in 1996, but she expected no more since he said he anticipated less income in the future. And he paid for their now 17-year-old daughter's private schooling. But he never revealed to her that he cashed in $1 million in stock options in '97 or his meteoric rise in income and bonuses.
She fought to get a substantial increase in spousal and child support -- and won in a landmark judgment.
Mr. Justice Victor Paisley ordered the 50- year-old banker pay his ex-wife $300,000 for the four years he enjoyed windfalls.
And the judge also more than doubled the ex-husband's monthly payments to $16,341 in a precedent-setting judgment that created a non-custodial parent's duty to disclose increased income or wealth to the ex-spouse.
"It was not fair for (my ex-husband) to make me financially have a life that makes me so unhappy," she testified.
The judge blamed the husband for "failing to recognize his obligation to notify her " when he exercised his vested stock options in 1997 and his salary escalated. "(This) also resulted when his income substantially increased."
Her lawyer, Jacqueline Mills, praised the judgment and said her client is "happy."
But the husband's lawyer Harold Niman said he'll appeal the decision to the Court of Appeal.
"We hope that court will straighten this out. We don't believe that's the state of the law in these circumstances."
Copyright © 2001, Canoe Limited Partnership.